DermNet NZ

Facts about the skin from DermNet New Zealand Trust. Topic index: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Pityriasis alba

Pityriasis alba is a common skin condition affecting children and occasionally young adults.

Several round or oval slightly scaly pink patches appear, leaving pale marks when the redness has faded.

Pityriasis alba patches are more apparent in summer, especially in dark-skinned children, because they don't tan as well as the surrounding skin.

Pityriasis alba Pityriasis alba Pityriasis alba
Pityriasis alba

What is the cause of pityriasis alba?

Pityriasis alba is a mild form of dermatitis of unknown cause. It will clear up after a few months, or in some cases persist two or three years. The colour gradually returns completely to normal.


No treatment is necessary, but a moisturizing cream may improve the dry appearance. If the patches are red or itchy, a mild topical steroid cream can be applied for a few days. Pimecrolimus cream has also been reported to be effective.

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If you have any concerns with your skin or its treatment, see a dermatologist for advice.